Splitsville: Chad Chop v1.1

"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Chad Chop, we'll look how he did against the right-handed pitchers versus the southpaws, how he hit with runners in scoring position, and more.

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Left-handed hitting first baseman Chad Chop was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 6th round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of Vanguard University in California where he hit over .400 combined in his final two years of school. After a solid professional debut with the Vermont Expos later that same summer where he hit 18 doubles, Chop followed it up with an even better year in 2003 with the Savannah Sand Gnats, hitting .322 with 26 doubles and 11 home runs. But a down year in 2004 at high-A Brevard County, a season in which he hit just .218, forced him to repeat the high-A level with the Potomac Nationals in 2005. Here's a look at his splits from this past season.

  • The Comforts Of Home: G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals, certainly was a welcomed sight for Chad Chop in 2005. Chop, who hit just .239 on the road this past season, batted 43 points higher at home (.282), despite a walk ratio three times better away from Pfitzner.

    He didn't just enjoy a higher batting average at home either. Chop hit all three of his home runs this past season at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium. In fact, Chop collected a respectable 36.2% of his hits at home for extra bases and just 20.4% of his road hits were extra-base hits. Throw in the fact he had nearly twice as many runs driven in at home, Chop was cleary not only more aggressive in the friendly confines, he was much more productive.

  • Future Platoon Player? Chop's lack of success against left-handed pitchers in 2005, his fourth season as a pro, gives every indication that his future might be as more of a platoon player. He hit just .215 against Carolina League southpaws this past season, again, even though he boasted a much higher walk ratio against them than he did against righties.

    He hit .279 against opposing right-handed pitchers, including 23 of his 31 extra-base hits. This will be one of the key splits to keep an eye on. If he can't improve his average against lefties, Chop's future potential may be predetermined for him.

  • Angels In The Outfield: Chop, primarily a first baseman in college, has actually seen more action in the outfield over the last three season than he has at first base. And judging from his splits this past season, Chop looks a lot more comfortable at the plate when he's playing the outfield defensively.

    Even though he wound up with a higher average while playing first base (.263) than when he played outfield (.249), Chop's slugging numbers were a lot better as an outfielder. He hit all three of his home runs as a outfielder in 2005 and seven more doubles. More than anything, his position splits show that he's not the productive bat a team needs at the first base position.

  • Roller Coaster Season: To say 2005 was an up and down year for Chad Chop would be an understatement. He began the season hitting just .224 with zero home runs in his first 45 games with the Potomac Nationals, an extended slump to say the least.

    However, as the summer months approached and the weather got warmer, so did Chop's bat. Chop hit .299 with all three of his home runs in his following 42 games. Seemingly back on track and resembling more of the .268 career hitter entering the season, Chop flopped down the stretch. He hit just .247 in his next 23 games. A lot more consistency is expected from a player of his experience and he'll need to show a lot more of it quickly to remain a solid prospect.

  • Not A Compelling Argument: Chop, once considered a prime middle-of-the-order hitting prospect, didn't make a strong case for that in 2005, not by his splits at least. He actually enjoyed a lot more success hitting eighth in the Potomac lineup this past season than he did hitting higher in the batting order.

    Batting either sixth or seventh in the lineup for Potomac, Chop mustered just a .240 combined batting average and 28 RBI in 283 at-bats. Batting even further down in the lineup however, Chop became much more productive. In just 28 games batting eighth, he hit .308 with 21 RBI, including two of his three home runs.

  • Clutch? Not So Much! Chad Chop was not one of the more productive clutch hitters for Potomac in 2005. In fact, he hit just .236 overall with runners on base but flourished with nobody on base, hitting .286 in those situations this past season.

    And when the pressure mounted even more, Chop's bat was even weaker. He hit just .226 with runners in scoring position and his average dipped down all the way to .186 with runners in scoring position and with two outs. Chop, who plays both first base and corner outfield, didn't flash the potent bat in 2005 at a position where production is key.

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